Over at Google Blogoscoped, one of my favorite sites on search, blogger Philipp Lenssen reports that he has been threatened by SEO Inc., a SEO company, for posting widely known facts about the company. He does not have the money to pay for his defense, so he has taken down his original post, which noted that SEO Inc. has apparently been blacklisted from Google’s index, at least as it relates to particular terms like “search engine optimization.” (In fact, a search in Google for “SEO Inc.” does not yield the company’s URL in the first set of results, which is certainly odd.)
If Lenssen, who is based in Germany, had the money to fight these bigfoot tactics, he’d certainly win. Instead of fight, he decided to report what has happened, in the hope others will pick up the flag for him. I found his original post, titled “Fall of SEOInc” in Google’s Cache. I have a PDF of it as well, should the cache get rinsed in time. From the piece, which, in case the SEOInc. lawyers are reading, I quote under principles of fair use, newsworthiness, and commentary:
It’s kind of ironic that SEOInc.com, a search engine optimization company which for a while was on the Google number 1 spot for the highly competitive query “search engine optimization”, is now nowhere to be found in the Google results. This is likely due to the recent PageRank update and even more algorithm tweaks implemented by Google. Enter “SEOinc” into Google.com, and SEOInc.com is nowhere in the top 10; and the SEOInc.com PageRank has dropped to “none”. Only by entering “site:seoinc.com” into Google will you see the site is still indexed in some way.
And while a low or non-existent Google ranking is bad enough for sites outside the SEO industry, it hits everyone in the SEO business twice as hard: not only are SEOInc not being found with search engines anymore, they’ve also lost their biggest proof their services are worth paying for.
Of course, the fact this site has seen the Google death penalty hints that they’ve overoptimized using “black hat” search engine optimization (such as linkfarms, for example). In either case, these days it pays out more than ever to optimize your content and to deliver valid, accessible HTML, without spending a second thought on what search engines may like. They’re just too flaky to be trusted.
As far as I can tell, Philipp’s big crime, according to SEO Inc, was telling the truth. It’s no secret that in some significant way, SEO Inc, which claims on its home page that it can “rank more sites in more top positions than anyone in the business,” has been banned from Google. It’s the title of a thread in Webmasterworld, for example.
Philipp has posted a copy of the threatening letter SEO Inc. sent him here. My two cents: The cat is out of the bag, SEO Inc. Bigfoot letters can’t change the truth.
Funny aside from SEO Inc’s own site (at least last time I checked):
“Want proof? Take the Search Engine Optimization Inc challenge. Go
to Google and search for the term “search engine optimization” or
“search engine placement”! You are going to learn the same technology
and techniques that get us ranked!”
Not any more….